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March 13, 1981

Hospice Philosophy in Late-Stage Cancer Care

Author Affiliations

From the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester.

JAMA. 1981;245(10):1061-1062. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310350049026

THE TERM "hospice" has become part of the language of US medicine in the past few years, signifying a system of care for the dying cancer patient. As it applies to medical caring, hospice emphasizes a systematic application of symptom relief, palliative comforting measures for patients and families whether in an institutional or in a home setting. The emergence of this emphasis on late-stage care has filled a void in the total strategy for cancer care and education, which has tended to emphasize the disease process and treatments appropriate for cure or prolonged life. Hospice-type care has resulted in improved service-directed concern for terminally ill cancer patients treated in the hospital and in community-based oncological practices.

Background of the Hospice Philosophy  The word "hospice" derives from a medieval French designation for places of rest constructed in out-of-the-way sites to house-wandering pilgrims and men-at-arms journeying to the Middle East and the

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